Hate in the U.S.A.

I talk a lot about racism in the United States. I recognize that many people are ignorant of racial issues in the US and therefore my words may strike a hurtful chord. They may think I’m unfairly harsh towards the systems and institutions that oppress People of Color. They may be hurt when I speak broadly of the need for white people to wake up to the suffering experienced by PoC. Ultimately though, your hurt feelings don’t matter when weighed against the lives of People of Color-Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Indians-who feel the force of a racist and oppressive system every day in a multitude of ways. All of my criticisms…all of my complaints…all of my outrage…it all stems for a desire to see this country BECOME BETTER. I want fewer people to suffer. And I view *all* of us as people. I view *all* of us as equal. I don’t want white people to suffer. Nor do I want black people to suffer. Nor do I want Indigenous people to suffer. Or Asians. Or Latinos. I was all of us to prosper. I want all of us hale and hearty and able to pursue our dreams as far as we desire…beyond even, if we so desire. I want everyone to have equal opportunities, and I want this country to work to ensure that everyone has access to the same tools to succeed in life. To do that, this country has to level the playing field. We cannot continue to allow only white people (and male, cisgender, heterosexual ones at that) to be the ones who wield the majority of social, political, religious, and economic power. That power must be spread among everyone. So that no matter your race no one is left behind. And while the vast majority of my criticisms focus on the sexism and misogyny that pervade society, or the homophobia and transphobia that devastates the lives of LGBT people around the country, or the pro-white, anti-PoC racism that permeates society and leads to the racial disparities present in the criminal justice system, it doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore other forms of intolerance and injustice (if I’m aware of them). 

Having just viewed the SPLC’s 2014 hatemap, I am struck at the number of hate groups. 784 known, active hate groups currently exist in the United States (it should be noted that while this number seems high, the number of known, active hate groups has been going down for the last several years). What is striking though, is that so many are concentrated in the USAmerican South, as well as Northeastern states. I’m surprised to see so many hate groups north of the Mason-Dixon line. I’d have thought for sure the majority of the hate groups would be in the Southern States, specifically those racist, traitorous states that seceded from the US in a bid to retain their right to own black people. But what piqued my curiosity was the little star on the Gulf Coast. I *live* on the Gulf Coast, and have since 2003. I wondered what hate groups lived in this area. What I found out was rather surprising. Not only are there two hate groups on the Gulf Coast, but they’re both located in Pensacola (where I currently live). On top of that, they aren’t the groups I suspected. Rather than the KKK or some other white supremacist organization, the two groups are The Nation of Islam and the Black Separatists. Regarding the Black Separatists, the SPLC says:
“Black separatists typically oppose integration and racial intermarriage, and they want separate institutions — or even a separate nation — for blacks. Most forms of black separatism are strongly anti-white and anti-Semitic, and a number of religious versions assert that blacks are the Biblical “chosen people” of God.
About the Nation of Islam, SPLC says:
Since its founding in 1930, the Nation of Islam (NOI) has grown into one of the wealthiest and best-known organizations in black America, offering numerous programs and events designed to uplift African Americans. Nonetheless, its bizarre theology of innate black superiority over whites — a belief system vehemently and consistently rejected by mainstream Muslims — and the deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay rhetoric of its leaders, including top minister Louis Farrakhan, have earned the NOI a prominent position in the ranks of organized hate.
If you’ve read me for any length of time, you know I support a multicultural society-one in which the contributions of all individuals are recognized and celebrated. While I can fully understand the urge some black people have to separate from society and get away from white people-after all, the racial disparities in the US exist because of the bias in favor of white people, so if there’s no white people to worry about, then such problems would presumably disappear-I don’t embrace that. Because now that you’ve separated yourself from white people so that racism is not a problem, what about other social ills? What about sexism and misogyny? Should black women then separate themselves into enclaves for black women only? What about homophobia in the black community (which does exist and pisses me the fuck off, bc my support for Black Lives Matter means I support *all* black lives, queer and non queer alike)? Will the black people who are not homophobic then separate themselves? You can see where this is going. Society would become so fragmented that we’d have enclaves of people *everywhere*. There would be no black community. It would be divided into countless smaller communities. Moreover, how would this affect families? How could you even have families if black men and black women lived separately? Would they agree to come together once a year to propagate the black race? Who would raise the children? If a black boy is born, would he automatically go live with men, and girls with the women? What happens when a teenager comes out as lesbian or trans? Would they be required to go live with their own community?
Fuck all that noise I say. We need to educate people to be more respectful of others’ differences. We need to instill in children a respect for the identities of others, and to not other people who are different from them. Socially ostracizing someone for being bisexual or trans should be frowned upon. It should not be accepted. Aspects of people’s identity such as sexuality or gender or gender identity should not be the basis for judging someone. You judge someone’s character based ON their character, not on their identity. No, separate institutions or nations for black people is not a solution to racism, no matter its seeming appeal.
I shouldn’t need to point out that I stand opposed to the anti-Semitism of the Nation of Islam, but I will. They can take their anti-Semitic views and fuck right the hell off. Jews are not lesser. They are not inferior. They are not sub-humans. They deserve the same respect and decency as all other human beings. FFS, the differences between Jews and Blacks is so fucking minor and is almost trivial in comparison to our shared humanity. We have far more things in common that not. And where we differ…? So what?! Seriously, why are the differences between Blacks and Jews grounds for discrimination or intolerance? God, I can’t imagine being such a hypocrite that I’d advocate for People of color, women, or LGBT people to be treated respectfully, with dignity, and judged on the merits of their character and then turn around and judge Jews based on their religious or cultural beliefs! That’s so fucking antithetical to me that I can’t even wrap my brain around the mental contortions I’d have to go through to adopt such a heinous position.
All of that is to say, I do not support and expressly the bigoted views held by groups like the Nation of Islam and Black Separatists. While I can understand their frustration at racism and appreciate that they were formed in response to the virulent racism that has long plagued our country, that is no excuse for anti-Semitism, anti-white bigotry, or homophobia. Nor do I see any value in carving out an area of society that exists only for black people (I do see value in creating spaces within society for black people to feel safe in, but that’s carving out space within society, rather than separating oneself from the entirety of our culture). One point that is important to make-despite my condemnation of these two organizations, I do not believe they are anywhere near a threat to society in the way that white supremacist organizations are. While they do espouse hate, they are lacking in the political, social, economic, and religious power to enshrine their beliefs into law. They don’t have politicians backing their beliefs and crafting legislation that codifies their bigotry into law. Without such power, there is a limit to the number of people who can be affected by their toxic beliefs. In contrast, the people who hold the lion’s share of power in this country-white people-are the ones who can (and do) create legislation that perpetuates racism. Coupled with that are the people in positions of power who enforce racist laws-of which there are plenty (in many cases, these racist laws are upheld without people holding explicitly racist beliefs, but once again, implicit racial bias is a very real thing).  And those are the people who are the real problem. Those people are the ones who need to be challenged on their beliefs…who need to be persuaded out of their harmful beliefs…who need to be made aware of their biases…or who need to be removed from office to make way for more self-aware individuals who will fight to reduce racism.
(Btw, the reason why sociologist define racism as ‘power plus prejudice’ is precisely because racism is more than prejudice or bigotry against another person based on their actual or perceived race. It is also outcomes. It is about negative outcomes that disproportionately affect groups of people based on their race. If racism were limited to white people calling blacks coons, niggers, or monkeys, there wouldn’t be much to worry about because on their own, those words don’t translate to the racial oppression of black people. But those words don’t exist in a vacuum. Those words exist within a culture in which those with the most power wield it in such a way that black people are not treated equitably. The people in power-white people-have created a society in which pro-white bias exists and which benefits white people while perpetuates the discrimination and oppression of black people and other PoC)
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Hate in the U.S.A.
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One thought on “Hate in the U.S.A.

  1. YOB

    At first, I was surprised that Texas didn’t have more than we do. But after thinking on it a bit, it kind of makes sense that we would have some but not really that many.

    There are two main reasons that I think this is so.

    1. The prejudice (all the -isms) is so prevalent that we, as a state, don’t need organized groups that can be plotted on a map.

    2. Most of those groups are organized around a principle of defending against a perceived threat by “Others”. Most of the racists I know (some of them virulently so) are just not feeling threatened, so don’t feel the need to join a group like that. My brother and father, for example, are prejudiced as fuck against fricken everybody (Including me, to some degree, since I’m college edumacated) but these others may be causing problems in various sectors of the country, aren’t necessarily causing any direct harm to them. Their view is that minorities are simply lazy, shiftless, and inferior (or just weird IRT queer folk) but not a cause for alarm.

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